We’ve been telling you all about the various layoffs taking place at the Gazette newspapers (Montgomery, Prince George’s, Frederick and Carroll Counties…owned by the Washington Post Company).
On July 31, everything got worse. The Gazette announced it was eliminating 23 positions – a full 14% of its workforce. Among those released were the Silver Spring managing editor (an individual with 15 years experience in the job) and two managing editors in Prince Georgeâ€™s County. The rest of the employees â€“ especially the critical assistant managing editors — will be expected to pick up the extra workload with no commensurate increase in compensation. The layoff announcement shocked the workforce and prompted additional resignations.
In explaining the terminations, Gazette management mentioned the twin pressures of falling ad revenue and rising newsprint prices. They also cited the need to invest in their website (although they did not elaborate on how a beefed-up website with less reporter-generated content was supposed to improve the bottom line). Interestingly, management never directly addressed the question of whether the Gazette is profitable. If the Gazette is indeed losing money, it would make sense for them to tell the employees in order to obtain their buy-in to the new business plan. But management never formally commented on whether the newspaper is making money and that omission may hint at an underlying truth.